Costa Rica Trip, Day 14 – Our Final Day

Our final full day in Costa Rica dawned sunny and bright. We had breakfast in the restaurant upstairs and enjoyed the gorgeous view.


Our view at breakfast

We decided we would go back to Playa Hermosa for the day. On the way, we stopped at a little grocery store to get some drinks and snacks. Outside, we saw the truck delivering Bimbo, so I had to snap a picture of it. I thought it was funny that basically the only bread ever offered at meals was sliced white Bimbo bread. I guess the artisan bread craze hasn’t made it’s way down here yet.


You gotta admit, the bear is cute.

We picked out a nice spot at the beach and set up our tent. We noticed strange flashes in the water and figured it must be fish jumping. I wondered what would make them do that – could there be a shark or something out there?


We went in the water, which was nice and calm compared to Ocotal and Conchal. We relaxed and enjoyed the gorgeous day and the water, when suddenly, I felt an unpleasant sting on my leg. It felt a bit like brushing against the sharp edge of sedge grass. I reached down to wipe it away, whatever it was, but the stinging continued.



It didn’t dawn on me right away that it was a jellyfish. If I’d ever been stung by one before, I have no memory of it. Dave got stung later, and as the tide receded we noticed dead jellies on the sand.

Well, boo hoo! That made us not want to go in the water anymore, which stunk. We also had to move our tent, because not long after we got there, some guys with a chainsaw decided they were going to cut up a tree that had fallen on the beach near us.


Our shell collection

We relaxed on the beach for the rest of the afternoon, and then, after a quick, nervous dip in the water, it was time to go.

For dinner, we went to the soda where we’d first met the little dog called Negro, and ordered casados to go. As we were waiting for the food, we noticed there was some kind of Christmas-themed dance party happening in the park across the road. Kids were jumping around and dancing vigorously to Feliz Navidad and Dominic the Donkey. It was strange to be reminded that it was December and that Christmas was only a few weeks away!

We ate our casados on the balcony of our hotel while we looked out over the dark landscape. The sky was shimmering with thousands of unfamiliar stars. The nightjar began singing in the road below us, and fireworks burst off in the distance.

Our time in Costa Rica had come to an end, but what a time it was. Learning about new places, a different culture, wildly different plants and animals and meeting lots of kind and helpful people made it a trip to remember.

Pura vida!

Costa Rica Trip, Day 10 – Playa Hermosa

The next morning, we ate Cheerios on our balcony and gawked at the view. This area reminded me a lot of the Southern California coast – except way less developed. Maybe this is what Southern California looked like 50 years ago.


The view from our balcony.

We saw all kinds of fun things from this balcony. Dogs wandering happily on their own. Dogs wandering with people in tow. Cats running from dogs. Retired Americans out for their morning constitutionals. We even saw a flock of bright green parrots! At night we saw a strange, fox-like animal which we never figured out what it actually was. We also saw (and heard) a nightjar.

The hotel has a restaurant on top, so we also overheard conversations from the diners and waitstaff. One night, after the guests had departed, we overheard one waiter laughing with another because a drunk woman had written on her receipt “I love Puerto Rico!”

To save money and time, we bought a styrofoam cooler to take to the beach with us. Thanks to our hotel kitchen, we were able to make our own ice, and we took sandwiches and lots of drinks to the beach with us every day.

Another thing we did (months before our trip) was buy a little pop-up sun tent. We weren’t sure how hot it would be, or what kind of shade options we would find on the beaches. In case you haven’t noticed, I am extremely fair skinned, and I do not like being hot. We were really glad we brought it because even though there were trees on the beaches, the tent provided more sun protection, and gave us some privacy too.


Won’t you come in for some iced tea?

Playa Hermosa, as the name suggests, is a beautiful beach. The sand is fine and soft and clean. When we were there it was pretty quiet, with most of the other people simply out for walks. Only a few people came by trying to sell things, but after we declined, they left us alone. We probably interacted with more dogs than people, now that I think of it!

We returned to the hotel to shower and change before heading into Playas del Coco for dinner. We found a lebanese restaurant called Le Coq, so I wanted to eat there based on the name alone. We got wraps – Dave got a chicken one and I got falafel. It was so good!


Late afternoon view… I could have watched the view all day!

Next up – Playa Conchal – the beach that’s made of shells!

Costa Rica Trip, Day 9 – Getting to Playas del Coco

In the morning, we had our final breakfast at Hotel Tangara. By this time I was going to weep if I had to eat another banana, but fortunately they switched up the fruit so we got to have pineapple and papaya instead.

We drove in the rain most of the way back to Ruta 1. This meant we didn’t get to see the spectacular views of Lake Arenal that I had hoped we would. It took us about 3 hours to get from La Fortuna to Playas del Coco. We found Hotel Chantel without too much difficulty. It is situated on the side of a very steep hill, which we were impressed our rental car was able to climb.

We originally planned to stay at a different hotel, but after a week of eating every meal at restaurants, we decided we had to find a place with a kitchen, so that we could eat in once in a while, and so I could actually take leftovers home. Hotel Chantel did not disappoint – the kitchen was spacious and stocked with all the service wear and cookware we needed!

For lunch, we drove down into Playas del Coco and found a soda (that’s what Costa Ricans call little Mom and Pop restaurants) where we could get some casados. Of course there was a little dog hanging around looking for scraps. There was a woman outside the restaurant who was selling pinchos, so Dave bought one to give to the dog. He was such a sweet pup, he would eat one piece and wag his tail and then look up shyly, and then Dave would give him another piece. He was so grateful that he followed us to the beach afterwards.

We weren’t impressed with the beach itself. It was small and dirty and noisy. So we ended up going to other beaches for all our beach days, which of course I will tell you about in upcoming posts!

That evening, we watched the sun set at Playa Hermosa, which was just north of Playas del Coco, and where we would spend most of the next day.


This might be my favorite picture of the whole trip!



Check back tomorrow for a review of Playa Hermosa! (Aren’t you impressed that I’ve been posting every day for the last several days!?)